Sunday, July 09, 2006

Loyalty: Part 2


The Cyclones went dormant and the Ducks were left standing. Just as if my doctor upset me and then retired, I became a Ducks watcher. I even was able to realize one of my all-time fantasies when I got to be the 2nd Zamboni driver at actual Ducks games. That was fabulous. In spite of that, however, I can’t say that I became a rabid fan. Several things came together, which prevented me from becoming a face-painting, screaming, wacky fan.

Again I did not have the time that I previously did; this kept me from getting to know and recognize the players and really being familiar with their styles, special skills, etc. When I did make it to games, the overall experience was marginal. The crowds were so-so, the energy level was so-so, and the Ducks player talent level was good but not great. As a result I liked the Ducks, I enjoyed the Ducks, but I was not a 100% Duck Nut. Then Anaheim pulled the plug and I was stuck home watching reruns in 04-05 and OLN in 05-06.

When the Railraiders tried to get going, I was totally on-board. The return of hockey was eminent, why shouldn’t I be? It was late in the campaign before I actually called and made my deposit. I was debating how many to get and whether to get full season or half. Ultimately my wife and I decided on two full season tickets. I was crushed when they had to pull the plug on it. I plan to analyze that in next week’s entry.

Suffice to say this was the Gardens hockey group’s chance to secure their place as the only game in town so they could have maintained the current loyalties and earned new ones. This is what disappoints me the most about them not making it.

Then, along comes the Nederlander organization to fill the void and return the Cyclones. Again I am totally on-board. Why not? I have plenty of good memories of the entity we know as the Cyclones and plenty of good memories of hockey at the US Bank Arena. Besides, as stated, there is not a hockey team on every corner. This is the chance to have live professional hockey in Cincinnati 36 nights a year, plus exhibitions and playoffs. I have not bought my season tickets yet; I plan to take that leap in July or August.

But they have my support until they either cease to exist or do something to turn me away. Meanwhile the Gardens is working on a second chance. In a perfect world I would love to see them get a team and keep that building going as an all-inclusive hockey barn for us kids of all ages. If the Cyclones stay in operation and the Railraiders pull a magic rabbit of their hats and get going, we will be back to the split loyalties.

That really stinks. I hope that either the Cyclones are so wildly successful that the Railraiders give up; OR that the Cyclones pull the plug and the Railraiders step in. I’m dreaming, eh? Murphy’s Law of Cincinnati hockey dictates that the Cyclones will do just good enough to remain in operation and to make the Railraiders see enough of a market to try again; thus creating the natural division.

Back to loyalty. Some people will feel a clear loyalty to one or the other, based up on their personal experience. But many others like me will feel a genuine split. My better game experiences have been with the Cyclones but my better personal experiences and relationships have been with the Gardens.

We have good reasons to support both entities, but only so many entertainment dollars to spend and days in the year to spend them.

What is the point of all this rambling? I’ll tell you. The point is that loyalty is a basic trait of human nature. We like to be loyal. Reasons for loyalty are very personal and those reasons are complete reality for the individual. I’m basically a positive person and I relish in the positive experiences I’ve had with both teams and I don’t dwell on too much the negatives of the past.

Some people have had an imbalance of positives vs. negatives that have swayed their allegiance to one camp or the other. That’s cool. I can respect that. We all should be able to respect that. I read a bunch of other peoples’ blogs recently and I was amazed at how we can all take the same set of circumstances and draw such completely different conclusions – and then call our conclusions “facts” while bashing the other side for getting the “facts” wrong.

We are all looking at the same data; but we’ve experienced it differently. Crowing about “facts” and using that to preach against the other guy’s preference is like arguing about Cookies & Cream vs. Rocky Road.

A wise man on my men’s league team says: “its just hockey. Have another beer.”

This blog is my sole opinion. It may be based on reason and fact; or it may be purely my emotional preference but it is mine alone. I only claim to be perfect most of the time. You are entitled to disagree, and I invite you to do so - somewhere else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loyalty is not necessarily measured in dollars and cents. There is no reason why ALL Cincinnatians cannot support 2 teams! I've done it. My son's done it. How hard can it be?

4:59 PM  

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